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Results from 2004 variety testing

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[NOV. 12, 2004]  URBANA -- The University of Illinois has released the 2004 results from its variety testing program for corn and soybeans. The data from these latest trials are available in both printed form and on the Internet at

"One of the most important production decisions facing producers each year is which soybean variety or corn hybrid to grow on their farm," said Emerson Nafziger, U of I Extension agronomist. "The variety testing program in the Department of Crop Sciences at the U of I provides accurate and unbiased performance data on a large number of soybean varieties and hybrids so that growers can make the best choice possible on what to plant."

He points out that the program is one of the largest in the country and has served as a "neutral testing ground" for more than 60 years for corn and for two to three decades for other crops. The corn entries in this year's trials were tested at a dozen sites throughout Illinois, while the soybean varieties were tested at 13 different sites.

"There were 129 conventional varieties and 717 Roundup-resistant varieties from 72 companies in the 2004 soybean trials, while the corn trials included 384 hybrids from 50 different seed companies," Nafziger said. "The total number of soybean varieties included 295 that were nominated by Illinois farmers. Fees for the nominated varieties were paid by the Illinois Soybean Checkoff Board."

Nafziger notes that the quickest way to find results from these trials is on the website for the U of I's Department of Crop Sciences. Printed versions are published in Illinois AgriNews during mid-November. Paper copies can also be obtained from most U of I Extension offices after early December.

"Corn yields were excellent across the state," Nafziger said. "Regional averages in northern, west-central and east-central trials were over 200 bushels per acre. Individual location yield averages were as high as 232 bushels at Erie and 238 bushels at New Berlin and none lower than 207 bushels in northern and central Illinois."

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Nafziger points out that the average corn yield in the southern region was also excellent, at 192 bushels per acre. In addition, a corn-following-corn trial was conducted at a single location in the northern, east-central and west-central regions, with an average yield of 214 bushels per acre.

Soybeans followed a similar trend, with above-average to near-record levels over most of the state.

"Yields were consistently over 60 bushels per acre in the northern three-fourths of the state," Nafziger said. "The highest yielding location was Perry in west-central Illinois, where three of the five trials averaged over 70 bushels per acre and the remaining two trials were just slightly less."

Nafziger points out that, while company data and recommendations are essential in deciding what seed to buy this fall for planting in 2005, the U of I variety trial results represent the only place to find so many hybrids and varieties compared with each other in the same trials.

"Companies know their products better than anyone else, but they may not always have much information on how their varieties perform compare to those from other companies," Nafziger said. "Many producers also like to double-check to see how the seed they ordered stacks up against the competition. If the seed company participates in the university trials, such data represent a valuable source of such information."

[University of Illinois news release]

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